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Edinburgh Fringe 2014


Smoke and Oakum Theatre

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Venue: Greenside at Nicolson Square


Low Down

"Three activists meet beneath a bank intent on starting a revolution by bringing the business to it’s knees. Their high ideals of peaceful and international change, however, are soon undermined. As the plan falls apart the group are further alarmed by the appearance of Mazzy, an employee of the bank they are beneath. This new black comedy looks at both our fondness for quick-fix political solutions and our general apathy towards instigating change."


There’s plenty of fun to be had and a fair few laughs along the way in this new comedy play from Smoke and Oakum, who brought the offbeat Cow Play to the Fringe last year.
Strong performances from all four of the cast underpin this parody protest play which also deals with deeper questions about the value of human life compared to the values of justice and fairness.
Set in the basement of a greedy bank, things begin to go wrong for three hapless revolutionaries and their pie-in-the-sky plans to make a final stand. I’ll say no more than that for the story would be spoiled.
The dynamics between the characters make for some great sight-gag comedy as well as some sharp lines from the dialogue. Middle class, middle England revolutionaries, our actors look and sound a bit caricatured rather than rounded characters, despite the serious theme of birth which is also covered in the play. There’s a danger here that the knockabout, sketch feel of some of the material jars with that more serious, textured narrative. But mostly the contrast gives the play another offbeat feel.
Staging is simple and we are more than willing to suspend our disbelief. And you’ll really have to do that for Tinderbox. Assumptions are made about how and where banks back up their data that are fairly preposterous. That said, go with the flow of the tale, be infected by the commitment and skills of the cast, and you’ll enjoy an hour of strong comedy theatre.